With the UK government having promised earlier this week to continue funding EU environmental and structural projects post Brexit, NFU Scotland yesterday revealed it had written to Scotland’s cabinet secretary for finance and constitution, Derek Mackay, seeking similar assurances for other key schemes such as the less favoured areas support scheme (LFASS).
Along with the agri-environment climate scheme, LFASS sits within Scotland’s Rural Development Programme (SRDP) and are currently worth around £95 million per annum, with 70 per cent of funding coming from Scottish Government.
Union president Allan Bowie said: “The UK government’s announcement has now made it clear that, for as long as the UK remains a member of the EU, farmers and crofters must be entitled to apply for EU funds.
“In order to boost the confidence of farmers and crofters, and the wider rural economies that they underpin, it is vital that the Scottish Government makes an unequivocal statement setting out its commitment to maintain Pillar 2 spending on all the schemes within the SRDP at current levels through to 2020.”
Bowie added the importance of key SRDP schemes could not be overstated. They were key to underpinning active farming and crofting in more fragile areas as well as delivering a huge range of environmental benefits.
“In addition, new schemes such as the beef efficiency scheme and the new farm advisory service will be vital in enabling agricultural businesses to embrace innovation and become more efficient as the cornerstone of Scotland’s food and drink success story and as key drivers in the growth of the Scottish economy.”